My employer fired me because I use medical marijuana. Can I sue?


Image by CMElixirs from Pixabay

Well, that depends. 😉

It depends on the state in which you are employed. Some states haven’t legalized medical marijuana. So, you’re SOL if you work in one of them. Others that have legalized medical marijuana have clear laws that permit employees fired for having a medical marijuana card to sue.

But some medical marijuana laws, like the one in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are vague about whether an employee may pursue a private cause of action if s/he is fired for possessing a medical marijuana card. So, it’s up to the courts to decide.

And last week, a federal court in Pennsylvania decided that the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana law implied a private cause of action. Basically, the court concluded that there would be no point in having a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against medical marijuana cardholders unless the cardholder could seek redress by suing.

(The employer argued the Commonwealth could act on behalf of the employee, but the court gave that argument the back of the hand.)

However, the court did not greenlight the plaintiff’s wrongful discharge claim, concluding instead that the plaintiff’s sole remedy would fall under the medical marijuana law.

Additionally, the court did not address whether the employer would have to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana outside of work. The answer to that question — at least in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — will have to wait for another day.

By the way, the answer under the Americans with Disabilities Act is a hard no to any duty to accommodate the use of medical marijuana. Although, you may have to accommodate the underlying disability otherwise.



“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
Contact Information